Pickle Jar (4 stars)

Pickle Jar

Maddie Rice's lyrical play is quietly devastating

Maddie Rice starred in the touring production of Phoebe Waller Bridge's Fleabag last year, commanding the stage in that award-winning show. This time she's written and stars in Pickle Jar, an hour in which an eloquent, lyrical script is matched by Rice's captivating performance.

Rice is introduced as a teacher (known only as Miss) delivering a lecture on stranger danger and taking some stick from her students. Her own failing love life runs as a parallel storyline, with acute observations about the agony of a one-sided relationship coaxing laughs out of a sympathetic situation. Pickle Jar is no feel-good romantic comedy though; as the play progresses the two stories grow closer with devastating consequences. It's a skilfully written show; the dramatic twists are surprising but not so much that it's hard to believe. Rice brings depth and pathos to her supporting characters, particularly the sharp-tongued yet fragile schoolchildren and an evergreen party animal of an Irish flatmate.

There's a lot crammed into Pickle Jar, which would have benefited from a slightly longer running time to better tie up its loose ends. Despite that most minor of complaints, it's a disarming show from a talent we're sure to be hearing more of.

Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug, 4.40pm, £11-£10

Pickle Jar

  • 4 stars

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